“Inside His Idiom”: E. M. Forster’s T. S. Eliot

A1 Journal article (refereed)


Internal Authors/Editors


Publication Details

List of Authors: Jason Finch
Publisher: OpenEdition
Publication year: 2018
Journal: E-REA: E-revue d'études anglophones
Journal acronym: E-Rea
Volume number: 15.2
Issue number: 1
eISSN: 1638-1718


Abstract


Counter
to previous assumptions, relations between E.M. Forster and T.S. Eliot
are important to an understanding of the work of each, and reshape our
view of their period. These mutual influence relations also enable
revised theories of literary influence to be proposed. The two writers
shared privileged upbringings founded on nineteenth-century capitalism.
The friendship of each with Virginia Woolf brought them into contact
with one another and then, in the 1920s, they were linked by The Criterion,
which Eliot edited. The article examines two pieces of prose by Forster
on Eliot, one gathered into his first collection of essays, Abinger Harvest (1936) and the other into Two Cheers for Democracy
(1951). Over time, Forster came to see Eliot as self-deceiving and
harmed by his attachment to conservative Christianity. If Eliot drew on
Forster’s work it was early in his career, before The Waste Land. Forster and Eliot can be understood in social terms as mandarins of British culture in the mid-twentieth century. While Eliot seemed to pay little attention to Forster in later years, Forster’s career can be read as shadowed by Eliot’s.



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